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Wisconsin Sports Briefs: Packers roster loaded with Californians...

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 After a day off, the Green Bay Packers returned to the practice field Wednesday to get ready for their season opener on Sunday, Sept. 8, at San Francisco.

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About one of every five Packers are from California. They’ll return to their home state to seek revenge against a ’49ers team that eliminated the Pack from last season’s playoffs.

Green Bay’s two biggest stars – Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews – are from California.

The Packers’ first-round pick this year, defensive lineman Datone Jones, is from Compton, Calif. He played his college ball at UCLA.

Jones guesses that there are 15 men he played with in high school who are now in the NFL. California had almost 105,000 football players in high school last year, more than any other sport.

Together, they’re almost the total population of the city of Green Bay.

Receiver James Jones is also from California, along with fellow Packers Jarrett Bush, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Seneca Wallace, Davon House and Jeremy Ross.

Packer rookies Johnathan Franklin and David Bakhtiari are also from the Golden State.

Badgers paying $500,000 to play Tennessee Tech

The 21st-ranked Wisconsin football team will play a squad in the NCAA’s next-lowest division on Saturday when it hosts Tennessee Tech.

The Badgers are paying the Golden Eagles $500,000. Tech coach Watson Brown has been playing as many of those “money games” as possible to help build his program.

Since arriving at Tennessee Tech in 2007, Brown’s teams have played Oregon, Georgia, Auburn and others on the road. He said the big paydays have not helped his record, but they’ve been huge for his school.

The Big Ten is phasing out such opponents out in the near future. Brown says he hopes other big conferences like the Big 12 and SEC don’t follow suit.

Tennessee Tech is 0-28 against bowl subdivision schools. Brown’s teams are 0-8 in that department, with an average losing score of 47-6.

Last weekend, it was Tech’s turn to pounce on a smaller school. They crushed NAIA Cumberland 63-7 while completing only 12 passes.

Tech rushed for 323 yards in that contest. Four Tech running backs carried the ball at least a half-dozen times each.

The Badgers are also 1-0 after crushing U-Mass 45-0 last Saturday.

Wisconsin Rapids freshman commits to Marquette

A high school freshman in central Wisconsin has given his verbal commitment to play his college basketball at Marquette.

Phillip Flory, 15, is just starting his prep career at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln. He is the youngest player to be offered a scholarship by Marquette coach Buzz Williams.

Williams liked what he saw in July, when the 6-2 Flory scored in double figures in all four games he played at the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Summer Tournament in Plymouth.

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